Adrianne could make history as north's first transgender Orangewoman
A TRANSGENDER woman could be set to make history if she formally requests to join the Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland and her application is accepted.
LGBT activist Adrianne Elson (45), who moved to Belfast 11 years ago, was a member of the Orange Order and even protested at the annual Belfast Pride parade.
The 45-year-old, who is now living as a woman and is married to a transgender man, has said she hopes to rejoin the Orange Order in the women's lodges.
She counts her old Orange collarette as a prized possession and told the BBC the Orange Order had not been "cross" with her when she told them about transitioning to become a woman but tried to "dissuade me in a very gentle and Christian way rather than an aggressive way".
She would have liked to have been given the opportunity to join the female section of the Orange Order when she decided to resign and hopes to one day be welcomed by a woman's lodge.
"It would be nice," she said.
"I don't know if it would really ever be possible. Maybe in the future it would be nice to think it would be possible. Maybe that's something for another generation."
Last night, assistant grand master of the Orange Lodge of Ireland Rev Mervyn Gibson told The Irish News, as far as he is aware, it has never received an application from a transgender person and that so far Adrianne Elson has not made a formal request to join the women's institution.
"The women's institution is a separate organisation," he said.
"There are no specific guidelines. We are an organisation of Christian principles and that would be reflected in our membership.
"She (Adrianne) was happy enough to leave the Orange institution on good terms when she became a woman. If she wants to rejoin she must have no problem with the ethos and it is up to the women's institution now."
Ms Elson was speaking out about her experience of living as a trans woman in thenNorth as the Belfast Pride 10-day festival, which celebrates the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, got under way.
The centrepiece of this year's festivities is the annual parade through the city centre.
From humble beginnings in 1991, when the late veteran equality campaigner PA Maglochlainn was among 100 people to take part in the first march, the parade on Saturday, will attracts tens of thousands of participants and supporters of all ages and backgrounds.